Apple repair bill- $955 for a new HARD DRIVE!??!?!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by njdevil, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. njdevil macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I have an 15" macbook pro, late 2008 (still under applecare warranty).

    Worked fine until a few weeks ago, when it started pinwheeling constantly. Trip to the Genius bar eliminated software problems. The guy said that it was probably a faulty logic board, but would need to check it in overnight to make sure it was not a RAM or HDD problem (both of which I personally upgraded, from and respectively). Fair enough.

    I get a message on my answering machine from apple's repair depot today- apparantly there was something wrong with the RAM, and as it is 3rd party, not covered by applecare.Fair enough.

    The bill to fix this problem?



    So I called them up, thinking I misheard and the bill was actually $148.

    The woman looks it up. Now she is saying that the problem is a 3rd party hard drive failure causing it to not boot. (wrong,it booted fine)

    And that the bill was actually $955.

    Now, I am not the most technical person in the world, but I like to think I know a little bit more about computers than the average Joe.

    But How in the name of all that is holy can they charge almost half the price of the computer for a new hard drive? or Ram? or whatever they finally decided is broken?

    The only thing I can think of that would cost almost $1000 is the logic board, but that IS covered by the warranty!

    Can someone please help me? Is Apple smoking crack?

    (I told them to send it back to the apple store, I want to talk to someone there personally)
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    If the third-party ram was bad they would just pull it and tell you that was the problem. Do you have a more detailed bill for service.
  3. Archon Gold macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2009
    Canada, Ontario
    i would go get the machine back from them (if it worked fine) and storm out of the store.
  4. njdevil thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Well it didn't work fine, but it definitely booted fine.It would work for a few minutes and then freeze and pinwheel.
  5. njdevil thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009
    That is what i would have expected. I haven't actually been billed, they just called to say what they thought the problem was and what they wanted for it.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    FWIW, my MP failed and while they replaced the MP after replacing every part and still not being able to fix it, they blamed my 3rd party ram. I call BS because I'm certain it is not the ram.

    I am pretty sure when apple cannot figure out the issue they blame anything they can. If the sun isn't shining it is the sun's fault ... if it is shinning, it's the fact that it is too bright.
  7. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    Why not just put the stock hard drive in there.
  8. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    And ram.
  9. njdevil thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I would have if they had indicated that either of those where likely suspects prior to them taking it. The Genius even said that if it turned out to be a ram or hdd problem they would not need to send it to the repair depot, they would have kept it there for me to fix myself.

    It was sent away because it would have been quicker for the depot to replace the logic board than to wait for the store to get the parts in. The store should have them in by the weekend, which is when I am going to get the computer back and discuss this whole thing, So the apple genius guys will hopefully fix it themselves in-store. They seemed pretty reasonable.

    Its just so annoying, though. I bought this as my first mac, because I wanted a computer that would last at least 5 years, so I didn't mind paying the higher prices associated with apple products. But if they keep pushing for me to pay almost $1000 so they can fix a part that's under warranty, screw it. Back to crappy plastic Dell Inspirons I go.

  10. Archon Gold macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2009
    Canada, Ontario
    Yeah i looked it up and a logic board does cost $900 and then you have to pay $100 for them to put it in.

    I don't understand that though, when my macbook had random reboot problems they replaced the logic board for free.
  11. ipodlover77 macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2009
    yikes, this makes me feel uneasy about upgrading my hard drive by myself. :(
  12. iAlexG macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2009
    WOW thats pricey. I dont really want to install and 3rd party hardware until i need to. Maybe a new 1TB HDD next year when they become widley available (I think Western Digital released a 1TB 2.5" last month) Maybe new ram too but only if i REALLY Need it
  13. LTX macrumors regular


    Dec 25, 2008
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    #13 have Applecare. That means that they should NOT be charging you anything (even with the hard drive and memory upgrades -- both of which you are allowed to upgrade without voiding anything (unless you damage something), they even provide upgrade instructions on their site). A logic board is the only replacement that fits the bill they gave you and the problems you're having, but that's charging you as if you were out of warranty. Ask them for a detailed cost breakdown and ask them why it is not covered by Applecare tell them that your Applecare covers this.
  14. njdevil thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Right- time for a somewhat long de-briefing.

    Went to apple store last friday night. talked with Apple technician (Not going to call them 'Geniuses' anymore...), who found the repair bill as bizarre and stupid as I did. He then went on to say that if we want to get them to fix it for free, I should put back in the original HDD and memory, because having 3rd party stuff voids the warranty. (He would not admit that he was wrong on this)

    He suggests buying 2gb of apple ram at the store(because I told him that I might not have the original ram), insert the original hdd, and if the problem persisted, then it was ABSOLUTELY the logic board and the depot would have to fix it for free.

    So while he is talking to me, he turns on the computer to check it out. It does not boot, instead a folder with a '?' icon pops up.

    "Oh" he says. "I guess the repair depot broke your hard drive."

    So the mystery of the repair depot telling me the HDD was broken when I called them is resolved.

    I calmly tell him that I assume Apple will give me a similar HDD ( 500gb- 7200rpm, maybe 3 weeks old) to replace it.

    He keeps denying me this basic right, and his reasons for doing so are:

    a) "Its 3rd party"
    b) "You have the original HDD anyway" (250gb, 5400rpm)
    c)since the warranty is 'long gone' anyway he is doing me a favor by helping out at all.

    Bull****. If, say, a McDonalds employee broke my computer while pouring my coffee, I would expect to be given a replacement or the value of the computer by McDonalds corporation.. Certainly Apple, with spare HDDs coming out the wahoo, should do the same. Its common courtesy, not a warranty or a 3rd party issue, and just because I happen to have another does not change a thing.

    I make a mental note to pursue this issue later on with a manager, but for the time being I just wanted to buy the Ram and see if it was a logic board problem or not. So he gives me 2gb of ram, which comes out to $80 (Apparently He gave me 20% off because they broke my $130 hard drive).

    So I go home and try to insert the ram. It is the wrong kind.

    Now I have to make another trip to the apple store to get it exchanged (5th trip in a week and a half)

    I go there the next morning, explain the problem to a kindly but somewhat slow specialist, who eventually understands and goes to get me the correct Ram. he comes back, and I start heading back to the car. Just as I am about to turn the ignition, Something in the back of my mind gave me the urge to make absolute sure it was the right ram. I open the box and lo and behold- wrong ram (imac/mac pro ram I think, it was like 4 inches long as opposed to 2" for a laptop).

    I walked back inside and discussed it with the guy, who after feebly trying to assure me it was the right ram, he goes to the back and checks. 20 mins later, he comes back and apologizes, they do not sell 2gb of ram for Macbook pros as they come like that standard. So he instead gives me 4gb of ram. Not bad. 4gb of ram for $80? maybe this place isn't so bad after all.

    So I went home again, swapped the old ram for the new 4gb and HDD for the original 250gb and re-install OSX.

    Cha-ching! it works. It was a memory problem after all!

    Now I still have the issue of the 500gb hdd that Apple broke. Well, I plug it in externally and run Disk Utility. DU confirms that the drive is F'd in the A, but is miraculously is able to repair it

    So I re-install OSX on the 500gb drive (still in an external enclosure now), plus a time machine backup, which takes all friggin day.

    Runs great! All files etc. right where they should be.

    Then I run System Update.

    Fails half way through and ruins the operating system (Kernel Panic), requiring a re-installation.

    A fittingly annoyingly end to the most annoying situation of my life.

    (working ok for now, fingers crossed.)

    To Quote a famous mac fanboy

    "Macs just WORK."
  15. njdevil thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009
    BTW I was looking at those myself, they will not fit in most laptops apparently, only non-unibody 17" Macbook pros becuase they are 12.5mm tall instead of the usual 9.5mm.
  16. maghemi macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    What I find interesting is that they don't have spare 'test' ram and hard drives on hand for this exact situation. Surely it would have taken them 10 minutes to pop out your ram and hdd, put in some test ones and check the machine.

    That would have told you that it was a problem with your parts and you could go off and get replacements on those yourself.

    Maybe that is just far too much common sense really.

    It's not like they wouldn't have spares, I'm sure they upgrade user machines and keep the old parts they take out. It'd be really easy to keep one of each for each type of machine on hand.
  17. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2009
    So the lesson here seems not to do your own hardware upgrades on a computer still under Apple Care. Order what you really want / need when buying your system and be prepared to deal with the consequences if you do your own upgrades.
  18. trule macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007

    I would say the lesson is to keep the parts you replaced when upgrading so that you can plug'em back in before taking your broken equipment back
  19. surflordca macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I was just about to say that...
  20. JustGretchen macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    No offense, but it sounds like there's some holes in your story.

    The store kept your computer overnight for testing, but you stated that it was the repair depot, not the store that called you...That can't be because they can't get the computer to a repair depot overnight, have depot get it on the bench for testing and then call you, that's simply too quick.

    In my experience, I have sent 3 computers to repair depot via the genius bar. They require your permission to send it to depot because it is normally a flat rate repair for physical or liquid damage, or if you have failure of more than 2 major components and are in warranty and it is more cost effective for apple to replace them by sending the unit out rather than wasting man hours doing the repairs in store. They have always told me what the flat rate is because the customer has to give permission as I stated.

    Apple does not void warranties for non-apple ram, but they can & do deny service if they find that 3rd party RAM is causing issues and prevents them from successfully repairing the machine. I had this exact thing happen to me on a powerbook of mine.

    As for the 3rd party hard disk, again like RAM they have the right to deny service if the hdd is causing the issue because obviously they can't cover a 3rd party upgrade under warranty. Your hard disk could have coincidentally failed. Yes, it's "3 weeks old" but that doesn't mean anything. I've had bad ones out of the box, or even ones that have lasted 10 years. I would suggest running a hard disk utility such as SMARTCTL to verify the disk's integrity and ensure that it doesn't have any pending/bad sectors or a ton of reallocated sectors. Drive Genius also contains SMART diagnostics.

    The bottom line is that you have the right to decline repair work at any time, and they won't ever perform repair work without checking with you first. It's kinda like when you leave your car at a shop and they call you and say, "Hey we found this is wrong too"....

    You sign a paper when you drop anything off at a store stating you can decline repair at any time, but if the repair is already done or in progress you may be charged a 100 diagnostic fee. Additionally, when you leave your computer with them they ask if you'd like to be called for a re-quote if they find any out of warranty damage in the store that requires them to send it to a repair depot.

    This is all very fresh in my mind because I just got a computer back from repair depot. I speak from experience here with apple's in-store service and with sending my computers for business to depot when there's been major items to be repaired. Like I said, it sounds like you might have your facts a little turned around.
  21. njdevil thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2009

    They said they were going to check it in overnight and send it to the depot if necessary. the next day I heard nothing, the day after that they called me.

    About the hard drive, I suppose yes, a HDD could 'coincidentally' fail while something else is being fixed... But come on.

    I think you missed the point somewhat. I know I had the right to deny the service (I did, obviously). I read the papers I signed. They didn't deny me service due to 3rd party ram, they just wanted over $900 to fix it. If that does not seem out of the ordinary to you, I don't know what will.
  22. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Call AppleCare and complain. That and email

    Stress how you had a bad experience and how you expect Apple to get everything back in working order at no charge to you. Be kind but firm.
  23. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    So the real lesson is that Applecare just sucks. It's the reason why I just bought a Dell last week, because at least I know if anything happens to it I'll be able to get it fixed.
  24. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2009
    Really? No. Why should any company repair damage that might have been done by someone futzing with the inside of their sealed computer? I think the MBP should have a sensor that triggers if the sealed unit has been tempered with. If it has. Goodbye Apple Care warranty. Other manufacturers do the same with their desktops - HP and Dell do.

    Really this is a story of whine and deserves only cheese as a response; maybe a packet of hard bikkies (biscuits/crackers etc) too.

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